Looking back, I wish we had not put Seville last on our itinerary of Andalusian cities. Seville is one of the bigger and more popular cities in southern Spain and deserves more than the five hours that we gave it. By the time the fifth day rolled around, we were more excited for our visit to Gibraltar the day after and already thinking about coming back home. On top of that, it was the only cloudy day we encountered, and a lack of sun really does change the beauty of a city. Luckily, the clouds did not linger all day, though they only cleared away a couple of hours before we left.
Five hours was enough time to get a scant taste of what this city has to offer. Our lunch at the recommended Bodega Paco Gongora by Rick Steves was a huge disappointment. The paella was obviously microwaved and the meat was too salty and shoddily cooked. The only redeeming point was that it was a three-course meal for €9 a person, and it definitely filled us up until we got back to Malaga.
Plaza de España
Seville Cathedral + Giralda Bell Tower
Pepa y pepe
Patio de Banderas
41004 – Sevilla
Regular Tickets: €8.50
Students (17-25): €2
The Alcázar was initially a Moorish fort and is now the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. Some parts of the palace reminded me of the Alhambra, and while it may not be as big as the Alhambra, at least you won’t need to pre-order tickets in advance to go inside.
Plaza de España
We got lost getting here. It should have taken 20 minutes from the Alcázar, but somehow we wound up taking twice the time. When we arrived, the plaza was sparse with a few tourists here and there, but photos show the plaza as more crowded on sunnier days. There’s a lot going on architecturally here. The square was built for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929, which was held in Seville. It’s a mix of Art Deco and Neo-Mudejar styles. Today, the plaza consists mainly of government buildings. Star Wars fans may recognize it from scenes of episode II in Attack of the Clones where Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) walk through the arcade.
Known as the second longest river in Spain, the Guadalquivir took on a tint of green on that cloudy day. There’s not much to say about this river. You can embark on a cruise that will take you far down the riverbank or you can take a simple stroll across the bridge. The river is infinitely more beautiful when there is sun. When we first arrived, the clouds set a forlorn tone, as if the river were mourning. As the sun started peaking from the clouds, it cast a glow to the river.
Granizada [pit stop]
Think of granizada as a slushy sorbet. They’re commonly found from street vendors to local cafes. It’s not anything spectacular, but it really does hit the spot on a hot summer day.
Seville Cathedral + Giralda Bell Tower
Regular Tickets: €8
Students (up to 25): 32
Free entry for those under 15 years old
Unbeknownst to many, the Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral (even beating out the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul) and the third largest church in the world. Built to demonstrate the city’s wealth, it later became the burial site of Christopher Columbus. The Giralda bell tower was built to resemble the minaret of a mosque in Morocco. Today, it is one of the best spots to get a panoramic view of the city. The admission ticket includes both entry into the cathedral and the bell tower. Despite the seemingly never-ending flights of stairs that we walked, I thought the view would have been better served higher.
Pepa y Pepe
Calle Luiz de Velazquez, 2
615 656 984
To be honest, we weren’t that hungry when we arrived back in Malaga, but our lunch in Seville was so lacking that we decided to grab some light tapas. Eating out in Malaga at 10:30pm is like eating in a snowglobe but without the snow. The skies are midnight blue (it’s actually not pitch black) and the temperature is at a perfect 75 degrees. It feels as if you’re on a movie set or perhaps on the Truman Show because everything is just so perfect. Pepa y Pepe was another recommendation from Christina as well as Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet and several other review sites. The place boasts of decently priced tapas that are anything but pretentious.
Patatas Bravas (€2.90, media racion)
Patatas Bavas is probably one of the most popular potato tapas in Spain. It’s simply white potatoes cut into cubes and fried, served with a spicy tomato sauce (realize that when they say spicy, it really ain’t spicy). Even for a half portion, there is more than enough potatoes for two, particularly if you order a few tapas. The potates at Pepa y Pepa aren’t anything spectacular, but they sure beat french fries.
Berenjenas con miel (€2.90, media racion)
We finally figured out that berenjenas is eggplant. Interestingly, they serve the fried eggplant with honey, although it looked more like maple syrup than honey. This was really delicious, despite the onslaught of grease. The honey is a perfect counter to the oil and almost makes the eggplant taste “lighter.” Would highly recommend this.
Croquetas (€2.90, media racion)
The best croquetas in NYC are subpar at best. They’re usually mushy and lack that exterior crunch. These croquetas, however, were out of this world. The inside was a combination of ham, a creamy filling, and cheese, and the whole thing was fried to perfection. Even when you stab your fork into the croqueta, it makes a slight crunch. It made us regret not ordering croquetas earlier.
Adobo (€3.80, media racion)
Rosada (€3.80, media racion)
To be honest, both of these fried fish were too salty for me to distinguish the difference. The Adobo had some more intense seasoning, but similar to alot of the other meats we’ve had here, we had to take off the coating to eat the fish. In the end we gave up and left half the plate uneaten. I’d skip these and go for some of the other menu items (though half the menu is fish related).
Tubo de cerveza de barril (€1.50)
The total bill came out to €20.30, which included two cervezas and a glass of seltzer. Another steal in our eyes, considering you don’t need to tip. In NYC, this would have easily been double the price. Because of its popularity, it’s hard to snag a seat during the prime time between 9:30-10:30pm. We had to wait around 10 minutes for a table. By the time we left after 11pm, a few more tables had cleared up.